Apr. 18—After being held to no more than two runs in three games straight, the University of Hawaii baseball team relished the chance to let the bats loose against Cal State Bakersfield.
The Rainbow Warriors dropped the first game of Saturday's doubleheader 4-1, but a big offensive explosion in the second game salvaged a split, winning 11-4, with a chance to tie the series up in today's finale.
Making his long-awaited return to the starting lineup after missing 13 games to injury, designated hitter Dustin Demeter wasted little time. He notched five hits for the day, including his first career four-hit game in the second game. His fifth-inning home run got the ball rolling for the 'Bows in what turned out to be a seven-run game. His second at-bat of the inning yielded another of his four RBIs of the game.
"What he brings, just with his presence, is the ability to hit for power, " coach Mike Trapasso said. "Not just home run power, but to play station to station when he's up there because he can drive a ball through the gap. And the maturity he brings, even in the DH spot, is pretty important."
Not to be left out, freshman Jared Quandt picked up a career-best three hits in the second game. He finished with a career-high five RBIs, four of them on his first career home run, a grand slam in the fifth inning. His was the first grand slam by a UH freshman since Randy Inaba achieved the feat in 1982.
"It's a joy seeing a kid, as a freshman, have a breakout game like that, " Trapasso said. "But also, I also think the job he's doing behind the plate, receiving and blocking, is really what I'm looking for more."
Quandt has been forced into a larger role after the season-ending surgery of fellow catcher Dallas Duarte.
"Obviously he's been thrust into a bigger role than maybe he thought he would be early in the season, " Trapasso said. "He's handling it well. He's a very mature freshman. He's very even keeled, doesn't get too high when he does well, and doesn't get too low when he struggles."
The Rainbows helped fuel a low-scoring game with mistakes on the mound in the opener. The Rainbow Warrior pitchers walked seven batters, tying a season high. Freshman Austin Teixeira struggled to find the strike zone, walking three batters in the first inning and plating a run on his third walk issued. Teixeira settled down, retiring six of the next seven batters he faced, including a 1-2-3 second inning.
"He's actually feeling a bit tender, " Trapasso said of Teixeira. "I thought he was laboring, but he was giving us some innings. I was hoping we could get five innings out of him, being the first game of the doubleheader. But when he said he was a little bit tender in the tricep, we just went ahead and made the move for Logan (Pouelsen )."
Pouelsen later gave up what turned out to be the winning run after three straight hits to begin the fifth.
Trailing 4-1 late with a chance to tie, UH left two runners stranded to end the game.
Game 2 again saw the Roadrunners claim an early lead. Down a run, Demeter scored his second run of the day and first of the game in the third inning to draw even.
Demeter continued to do damage with his two-run home run in the fifth inning. Quandt followed, launching his first career home run over the right field wall for a grand slam. The'Bows continued putting runners on base, bringing up Demeter for his second at-bat of the inning. He hit the first pitch he saw to score another runner and round out the seven-run inning.